Nov 17 2010

Death and Life

sweetgum leaf 399While reading the book of First Peter yesterday I came across the passage where the biblical author says “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’”  (1:23-25a)  This time of the year seems appropriate for reading these words.  Now that we’ve had some hard frosts the grass in my yard has withered and the flowers fallen back to the earth.  Every time this happens we are reminded that our lives, like the grasses and flowers, are only here for a certain length of time. 

Death is not a subject most people like to talk about.  It is, however, something that comes to each of us eventually.  The mortality rate for humans remains 100%.  In nature we have all kinds of reminders that we’re not meant to live here on earth forever.  These reminders also serve the useful purpose of pointing us to our kinship with all living things.  Like them, we too will one day die.

I know that there are many people who believe that this life here on earth is all that we have but the Bible tells us that this is not so.  The eternal God offers to us the gift of eternal life.  That life is found in Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul was so convinced that there was life beyond death that he said, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Cor. 15:19)  And just as Peter pointed to the natural world for reminders of our mortality, Paul did the same to talk about what kind of bodies we’ll have in eternity.  He writes, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals another and fish another.”  (1 Corinthians 15:36-39)   Paul goes on to say, “So it will be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable…it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Cor. 15:42, 44)

I certainly don’t claim to understand what all this means but I do know that in the verses by both Peter and Paul there is to be found good news.  Death may be inevitable on this earth but the life God gives to us through Jesus Christ is everlasting.  For that I am extremely grateful!


(I took the image of the fallen leaves and pine cone in my back yard earlier today.)